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Obamacare? Just more of that empathy

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As for President Obama’s speech on health care the other night, I thought it was a fine effort, possibly even great, making clear the need for reform and striking the right balance between determination and compromise, all of it clearly articulated, but I don’t believe it will make any difference at all. From what I can see, the people I call the Angry Ones or the Belligerent Ones are hell-bent on blocking any government effort ...

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September 13, 2009
2:38 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

You know, if all the government wanted to do was to help those in need, few would object. But the government has no intention of stopping there. It wants to tell us all how to live because that affects its cost for helping those in need. That's where it crosses the liberty line. The principle of liberty means that you get to live your life by any lawful means you choose, being no more encumbered by your choice than anyone else in making his/her choice. If you choose to live in a way that tends to cause illness, and you have no money for treatment, my compassion to assist you cannot be limited by my opinion of the lawful choices you made if I value your liberty as much as my own. So, even if an errant columnist turns out to need some medical or mental health assistance, and even if he has chosen a profession with more sitting than moving, well he's entitled to his choices and his opinions regardless of what others may think of them, and he deserves assistance out of the human compassion to help those in need.

September 13, 2009
3:43 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Carl Strock weaves a telling picture of the predicament in which America finds itself today. It struck me, as it did him, that President Obama's speech to Congress -- with its stress on civility and compromise for the larger good -- evoked more in the way of a call for true Christian values than any presidential rhetoric in recent memory; whereas the orchestrated paper waving and sneering responses from his polital opposition were shamefully un-Christian in nature.

Why, then, didn''t everyone see what Carl Strock and I saw?

I think that it stems from the reality that packaged, exploitative sound bytes are easier to deal with than thoughtful contemplation.

In fact, people who disagree with what I'm writing here will likely not read what I'm saying all the way through. They're content to rage at my position that's opposed to theirs, as opposed to considering what merit my arguments may have.

I see this everywhere. Recently I've watched samples of Glenn Beck's orations on YouTube. While some of what he says strikes me as accurate observation, Beck's vague musings inevitably devolve into maudlin, apoplectic incoherence, where he tearfully exhorts his army of the faithful to help him take back his country through any means necessary.

That's my analyisis of Beck's rhetoric. Others listen to Glenn Beck and hear in his buzz words a latter-day prophet whose tears prove that he speaks from his soul. His seemingly paranoid rantings give legitimacy to their worst racist fears and fuel passion for their second amendment rights.

If a transparently manipulative emotional ploy, a loosely constructed stew of truth and gibberish, connects with people, it's safe to say logic and an appeal to conscience isn't much of an antidote.

Still, it would thrill me to see intelligent conservatives, who -- unable to watch the vulgar exploitation of their party toward ugly racist ends -- speak in numbers about the hijacking of the "conservative" label by these pseudo-Christian yahoos.

The word "conservative" used to be synonymous with "responsible." As a liberal thinker, I've long held my conservative friends in high regard as ballast to my more extreme leanings.

However, I can't find a nickle's worth of wisdom in the FOX "News" demagogues who try to pass themselves off as conservatives by misting up every time the word "soldier" or "Christian" is mentioned, while peddling biased bilge that makes mockery of their motto to be "fair and balanced." Agree with them, you're a great American; disagree with them, you're a pinhead.

They bill themselves as champions of freedom, and endlessly flatter their listeners as being superpatriots. In their heart of hearts, do they actually believe that either is true?

September 14, 2009
6:53 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

We have a selective memory in this country. This is why we need to be reminded of a few things over and over.

Our nation is a republic and not a democracy. The founders knew in a pure democracy a small minority could drive the agenda for the whole nation.

For example despite the fact that most Americans believe in God we have to be careful not to offend the few who don't. We forget the infamous phrase "Separation of church and state" is not even in the Constitution.

And just because of one isolated Supreme Court case every woman now has the right to kill off her preborn baby anytime she wants. A fact the woman involved in the case now deeply regrets.

So now even though most Americans have access to health care we have to create a giant new monster government program for the few who don't. All that's needed are few common sense solutions. These were the papers the Republicans were waving during the president's lecture last week.

Meanwhile what about in 2005 when it wasn't one "hero" congressman speaking out, it was almost half the chamber booing president Bush? No one said a word about that. Yet another case of selective memory.

September 17, 2009
7:22 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

"The oft-stated logic of "government out of my life" is a fantasy existence you've never experienced, and that you'd whimper in fear over were you ever subjected to it for an instant. Make a list of the industries you're aware of: medical, chemical, automobile, steel, housing, whatever. Each and every one of them would crush you with glee without government regulations if it added to their profits by one one-millionth of a percentage point. They'd sell the juice they squeezed out of you as a refreshment drink, if they could get away with it. As corrupt and inefficient as your government is (and it clearly is), it's the only thing keeping you alive moment to moment. Reform it, by all means. Keep it honest. Throw out the bums who aren't protecting you adequately enough. But, end its involvement in your life? Scale it back? You're kidding yourself. That's a joke. Take one look back at history (please, just one look!), and see how workers, and children, and consumers are now protected where they were once injured and exploited. That's called "progress," and we're hoping to add a little more." --Evan Handler

To all those who want to talk about the Founders remember what your hero Thomas Jefferson said about Corporations:

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed
corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a
trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country."

When you take power away from the Government that you control you are only empowering the corporations in this case the insurance industry that you do not!

September 22, 2009
11:37 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Corporations would rarely grow to the size that they do if it were not from the government giving them monopolistic conditions--and if they had such a large corporation, it would be not a coercive one, so what is wrong with that? If it did begin to try to squeeze the life out of its customers, all we would have to do is not buy. In the same way we vote for a legislature, every time we buy the product of a company, we are voting for it to stay in business. If we do not like that companies prices or practices, all we have to do is not vote for them. Others will see an opportunity for advancing themselves in that industry. That is the way the market works. (No, the market is not infallible, but luckily, everyone participates, and those who take the biggest risks get either the biggest returns or the biggest losses—a pretty fair system). You cannot continually abuse your voters if you want to stay in power. The only people with that capacity is our legislatures. Lets us say it is a technical monopoly, like roads built by a private company, where it only makes sense for one company to be in business. If it weren't against the laws, there would just be a corporate take over, like we used to have, if it ever got to a point that the majority of the people felt pricing was unfair.
If you are under the impression that child labor wasn’t on the downturn, or general labor conditions were not already getting better before legislative fiat, you should check your history. You should also check what seems to be a pretty generally accepted principle: society moves much faster than the State. Most people already agree with gay marriage. A majority of people knew slavery was wrong before it was abolished. People now understand that educational choice and competition is important—even public school teachers are in favor of education tax credits so children can go to private schools. But these things are not initiated by the State because they lag behind. To do otherwise would to them seem politically suicidal.
Do you think it is better to have businesses run the country through the government, who has a monopoly on force, which is how this country is currently run? Or would it be better for them to not be able to lobby for their own interest? Wouldn’t it be better to have consumers tell the business what to do? Or is it better to have the businesses tell the government what consumers can do? These seem to be the choices available to us now. It seems like a false choice, I know, but look around.